Phillies Playing Better of Late & Host Slumping Pirates

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 2:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 4, 2017 2:31 PM UTC

The Phillies have won five straight games hosting opponents in the Cradle of Liberty on Independence Day. Rookie pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. hopes to notch another holiday victory as he duels against Jameson Taillon and the Pirates on Tuesday  (4:05 p.m. ET) at Citizens Bank Park.

Pittsburgh Pirates (37-46)

Monday began a serious test for the Pirates with 16 of their next 23 games on the road. The team did not get off to a good start. It was shut out for just the fourth time all season in a 4-0 defeat to Aaron Nola and the Phillies. The loss made it four in a row for Pittsburgh. Will the bats show up this afternoon? Maybe. The Pirates have pushed through 5 runs or more in each of the three prior follow-up efforts following a goose egg this season.

Starter Jameson Taillon, however, may not need much support. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 22.1 innings over four starts since returning from a month long absence due to surgery for testicular cancer. Taillon is 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA for the season.

The Pirates are 18-10 behind Taillon in his career, returning 20 percent profit at -114 average odds. Four of those defeats have come in six games against teams with a 60 percent winning percentage or higher.


Philadelphia Phillies (28-53)

The Phillies own the worst record in MLB, but are looking to carry a little momentum into the All-Star break. They have won four of their last six and are aiming for just their third three-game win streak of the season this afternoon. After taking the opener of a home series, Philly is 9-2 in the follow-up effort since the start of 2016.

Mark Leiter Jr., the nephew of Al Leiter and son of Mark Leiter, bother former MLB pitchers, will make his third career start since shifted to the rotation. The rookie is 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA with 30.0 innings of work. Leiter Jr. has made 14 appearances overall. The right-hander has an arsenal of six pitches, using his splitter and sinker most often to compliment an average-velocity fastball.

The Phillies are a dismal 18-40 vs. right-handed starters this season. The lineup averages 3.81 runs per game. No MLB team scores fewer in this situation. Manager Pete Mackanin's squad rarely spoils good pitching performances at home. The Phillies are 12-0 at Citizens Bank Park when holding opponents to 3 runs or fewer in a game. The Nationals are the only other undefeated team in the bigs accomplishing the feat.


Final Analysis

Pittsburgh’s staff has ceded double-digit hits in nine of 11 outings in which Taillon starts a game with a betting total higher than 8 runs. The staff allows 5.1 runs on 10.9 hits per game in this spot. Philly's lineup has stunk all season, but its 31 runs in the last week are tied for 11th most in MLB. Expect the bats to do their part.

The Phils are 8-4 SU at home vs. teams with a winning percentage lower than 45 percent in the last calendar year. The Pirates enter with a .446 mark. There are few teams Philly can compete with right now, but the slumping Pirates are one. 

Free MLB Pick: Phillies +134Best Line Offered: Heritage

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